COLUMBIA - Some students have struggled keeping up their grades since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic while others continue to thrive.
Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven said she knows this pandemic has created a disruption in the learning skills and proficiency rates. Vandeven said students nationwide and here in Missouri do well in certain learning environments versus others.
“Students learn differently and for some, this method of learning is very natural and they are doing very well in this environment, a virtual environment or a blended environment," Vandeven said. "For the most part, this has been a challenge for our students. It has been a challenge for our teachers learning how to navigate this terrain."
The education non-profit NWEA looked at MAP testing scores of students third through eighth grade across the nation. In the analysis, there's an increase in learning loss in both reading and mathematics. Compared to average summer declines, the COVID decline caused a significant decrease in the amount of information students retain.
“Our kids are counting on us at this very moment and we are doing everything we can to prevent that slide," Vandeven said.
Rock Bridge High School student Olivia Liddle said she has seen a decrease in her grades, but she is passing.
“I think people aren’t trying to retain the information, just pass it, which is what I am kind of doing," Liddle said.
Liddle said she has been an honor roll student, but she doesn't believe she'll hit that level this year due to the pandemic's impact. She said she and her friends feel a lack of motivation compared to this time last year.
“I just feel like I don’t really care about it," Liddle said. "I just want to get done with the semester and go back to regular school. I think it will help me a lot more.”
CPS parent Rosalie Metro said her first and third graders continue to keep their grades up, despite the move from in-person to virtual learning.
“I think that their teachers have more experience. The school made some adjustments to the schedule that work a lot better. It's just not such a struggle," Metro said.
But, while Metro's children do well in school, she said she hopes the district is more lenient on grades this time around.
“If we keep the focus on what the students are actually able to do, not when they turn it in, or having it be perfect the first time, then students can do better," Metro said.
CPS held a board meeting Thursday morning, sharing grades of both middle and high schoolers.
In high school, 62 percent of students have an A or B. In middle school, there is a slightly higher percentage
CPS data show 20 percent of middle schoolers have a D, F or withdrawal grade. 23 percent of high schoolers are in that category.
CPS said the relative distribution of grades this year is not significantly different than grades in previous years for the same period of time.
NWEA recommends surrounding students with learning outside the classroom, creating plans to close learning gaps and restarting schools.
Vandeven said no matter what, there is going to be a slide in all grades across Missouri. She said there needs to be more solutions.
“I really think our kids need a lot of hope right now. I mean they need to see and understand that we will get past this virus someday. What they are learning in school does matter. It will make a difference," Vandeven said.
Vandeven said it won't be until summer 2021 when the state sees the results of how large the COVID learning loss is across Missouri schools.